Continuous-bow Windsor armchair

about 1798–1805
Formerly attributed to Benjamin Frothingham (American, 1734–1809)


Catalogue Raisonné

Randall 199

Dimensions

Overall: 98.1 x 43.8 x 44.5 cm (38 5/8 x 17 1/4 x 17 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

60.7

Medium or Technique

Ash, pine, maple

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Seating and beds

Inscription

The chair bears the following handwritten label on the underside of the seat: "This chair belonged to my grandmother Esther Frothingham Emerson / and undoubtingly was given to her by her father / Major Benj. Frothingham sometime after her marriage / to Daniel Emerson in 1797, made by him or in his / workshop at Charlestown, Mass. They never could have / been able financially to have bought a chair of such fine / and unusual craftmanship. It was always highly / valued by my father as was his grandfather's writing desk. / William Frothingham Bradbury must have sat in it / many times in his years at Hollis with his uncle when / in his teens and early twenties. / When a little girl I used to sit curled up in it reading. / Frances Emerson."
Also on the underside of the seat is a newspaper clipping which reads: "Not far from Boston lives the great- / granddaughter of Major Benjamin Froth- / ingam, distinguished cabinetmaker and / friend of Washington. One of her most / prizd possessions is a Windsor chair / which originally belonged to the major's / daughter and is believed to have been / made by his hands/ The Prowler had / the privilege of examining this sturdy / piece of furniture and was delighted by / the [illegible] and workmanship. It is an / armchair, with a bow back which hoops / over to form the grooved arms. The nine / spindles in the back are delicately turned / and shaped. It has a saddle seat and / flared legs, carved in the bamboo pattern, / with H stretchers. The back is of oak / but the seat and legs appear to be of / different wood, possibly hickory. In / about a century and a half of existence / the chair has travelled from Charlestown, / Mass., to Hollis, N.H., then to Michigan / and finally back to its native State. / M.E.P."

Provenance

History of ownership: The chair bears the following handwritten label on its underside: This chair belonged to my grandmother Esther Frothingham Emerson / and undoubtingly was given to her by her father / Major Benj. Frothingham sometime after her marriage / to Daniel Emerson in 1797, made by him or in his / workshop at Charlestown, Mass. They never could have / been able financially to have bought a chair of such fine / and unusual craftmanship. It was always highly / valued by my father as was his grandfather's writing desk. / William Frothingham Bradbury must have sat in it / many times in his years at Hollis with his uncle when / in his teens and early twenties. / When a little girl I used to sit curled up in it reading. / Frances Emerson. There is also a newspaper clipping repeating the history that it had descended from Maj. Benjamin Fothingham to his granddaughter, having been moved to Hollis, N.H., in the intervening years. Esther Frothingham Emerson (1770-1849) married the Rev. Daniel Emerson (1771-1808) in 1797 in Charlestown; 1960, purchased by the Museum (Accession Date January 14, 1960)

Credit Line

Annie A. Hawley Bequest Fund